“Write every day”, Grits Gresham told me between takes of The Clean Team Public Service announcements we were shooting at Chicot State Park in 1985, “even if its only writing down what you had for breakfast, write every day.” I know what he was talking about even though most of the time I did not practice what he preached. Grits, shooting editor for Sports Afield, Miller Light Beer Personality, and Clean Team member taught that writing was like a sport that you have to train for every day. Runners run, Golfers hit balls and writers need to write.
My method was the lazy way or at least to do my favorite part of a coffee table book project first, the field work, the adventure and the photography and save the writing for last. The fact is I chose my job as a natural history photographer to be in the woods and waters as much or more than for the photography. Most of my books I worked on for two years to make sure I got all the seasons in twice before I headed home to write with the press deadline looming. Kathy Silvia, past Assistant Director of LSU Press used to joke that she had to hire someone to block my driveway to keep me home writing, lest I would sneak out into the swamp for one more picture.
The Clean Team was the brainstorm of Tommy Casanova, LSU All American and eye surgeon who thought if he could get some celebrity personalities together, the group might be able to help change the way of thinking of those that littered our beautiful state. I joined this clean team along with LSU football greats Hokie Gajan and Bert Jones, author Grits Gresham, Cajun humorist Justin Wilson and blues singer Irma Thomas.
World famous director of Ocean's Eleven fame, Steven Soderbergh volunteered his time to write touching and hilarious scripts for the TV spots. Watch one of The Clean Team PSA videos from 1985 here:
The Clean Team succeeded in making nine 30 second PSAs that ran on statewide television for years. They presented slide shows to groups across the state as well as helped to organize the first three Beach Sweeps along the Louisiana coast. Could you guess the most numerous type of litter we picked up on the first beach sweep? Six ounce Styrofoam coffee cups.
I begin my blogging to follow Grits's suggestion, probably not to post every day, but to write something every day to exercise my writing muscles for my next book to be published in the fall of 2012.